During the second world war my grandad moved to Stockport, near Manchester, where he worked for Fairey – the airplane manufacturer. With a little help from my dad I knew that there was a Fairey factory near Reddish in Stockport, and after a couple of google searches worked out it was actually in Heaton Chapel, but when I first started looking (around about 2001) that was as much as I could find.
Today, type Fairey Heaton Chapel into Google and … there are quite a few results (mostly repeating one other), although a couple of years after I first wrote up what I had found, George Nixon emailed me about his new website (a history of Levenshulme) where he has a very good history (and several photos) of the Fairey Aviation factory through the years.
My grandad was an airframe fitter making/finishing off the wings on Barracudas – they were an all metal aircraft with an airframe clad with aluminium panels which were riveted on. I knew that the Fairey Battle was built at Heaton Chapel (so too the Fairey Fulmar) – although the Battle was only built up until 1940 (513 built in 1939, 218 built during 1940)*, but I don’t know if my grandad also worked on these (or what other planes he might have worked on).
* Source: Fairey Aircraft since 1915 (H.A. Taylor)
Left: is a Fairey Battle (the only Fairey aircraft at RAF Hendon in London).
Below is the fitting room in the factory at Fairey (not dated, via George Nixon and Stockport Heritage magazine). Maybe my grandad is in the photo…
VJ Day, 1945
This photograph was taken in Sunnyfield Rd, Heaton Mersey outside nos. 21 and 23 (click on photo to zoom in). We think the street party was for VJ Day (August 1945).
1st left – Len (grandfather)
2nd left partly obscured – Doris (grandaunt)
6th left – Geoff Marsh (1st cousin once removed)
7th left very obscured – Frank Marsh (granduncle)
2nd left – Granny Wardle
1st left – Richard (my Dad)
2nd left – Helen (aunt) on Richard’s left shoulder
3rd left – Brian Lowe (friend of Richard)
4th left – Sam Hall (later an ITN reporter)
7th left – Muriel Marsh (1st cousin once removed)
Except for christmas 1941 when they returned to Kettering, my grandad and his family remained in Heaton Mersey until 20 July 1947.